- Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook earn third podium of the year and second in a row at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
- Ford Chip Ganassi Racing used strategy to put themselves into contention before circumstances helped them the rest of the way
- Series takes a week break before Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park July 21-22
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, July 9, 2017 – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing hoped strategy would send them to the podium after the 2-hour, 40-minute race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Strategy indeed kept them in contention, but at the end, unpredictable weather and the fates of other teams mattered just as much.
Drivers Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe finished p3, their second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium in a row and third of the year, after a fuel pressure alarm sidelined the then second-place 911 Porsche with just laps to go. The No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished fifth.
Twice, heavy summer rain started to fall on only portions of the track, causing a flurry of discussions about what to do – stay with Michelin slicks and wait for the track surface to dry, or switch to wets and take a gamble that the rain wouldn’t evaporate from the surface? After the first downpour, all GTLM teams decided to stick with dry tires. The second was so close to the end of the race, the only choice was to ride it out – literally.
“The weather was definitely a curveball today,” said Team Principal Mike O’Gara. “We still didn’t have the speed, but we used a little bit of strategy and managed to be at the right place at the right time and kept the cars clean, and ended up with a third and a fifth. We’ll take this finish and move on and go race for a championship the rest of the year.”
Briscoe and Hand started side-by-side, p5-6, in the third row of GTLM.
“A podium feels like a win for us today,” Westbrook said. “We certainly didn’t have the pace of the others, but we made the most of what we had. It’s very similar to what we did at Watkins Glen. We can all be proud of ourselves. We’re achieving the maximum results possible for what we’ve been given. I’m really proud of the team. Perfect pitstops, perfect strategy. Can’t ask for any more from them.”
The series heads to Lime Rock Park for the 2-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix July 21-22, 2017.